A Rest Stop for Migrating Birds in Central Israel
In the heart of the fields of Emek Hefer, near the Alexander River, Agamon Hefer was inaugurated – a refuge for birds and an attraction for nature lovers. The park, which was created with the support of Cyngiser family of Calgary, the Vickar family of Winnipeg and other Friends of JNF Canada, includes an artificial lake, wooden decks, hidden observation points, walking trails and new trees that were planted around the lake. Future plans include the building of a new entrance bridge and paving a trail that will be accessible to people with limited movement.
The pelicans have already discovered the new park, and with a little luck, one can run into large flocks of these impressive birds here, along with loons, coots, egrettas and many other birds and mammals that inhabit the lake.
“It’s very moving to stand here on the hill and to see the beauty of nature before our very eyes,” said Rani Eidan, Mayor of the Emek Hefer Regional Council. “We have created a wonderful community and amazing agriculture here, and recently, an amazing environment also, in order to pay back some of our debt to nature.”
In the past, Emek Hefer was home to natural swamps that provided a habitat for a great deal of flora and fauna. The pioneers who settled the area almost one hundred years ago drained the swamps and developed communities and agriculture. At the spot where the new park is now located, there used to be fish breeding pools that were owned by Kibbutz Ein Hahoresh. The pools were abandoned, and the site became neglected and deserted. Now, it is a beautiful park that is a paradise for both birds and humans.
“There’s no need to describe the wonderful park that we’ve created here in words, because a sight like this is worth a million words, “ said Nissim Alon, CEO of the Sharon Drainage and Streams Authority. “No one is exempt from protecting nature. We try to manage nature in a suitable manner, in order to ensure that there will always be green spaces along the stream banks, for the benefit of the citizens of Israel.”
The park spreads out over an area of about 90 acres, most of which is covered by a large lake with a storage capacity of about 300,000 cubic meters of water. The varying depths of the lake meet the needs of a variety of birds. The bicycle trails and walking paths that were developed over past years make the site accessible to visitors.